More Questions than Answers about COVID-19 and the President’s Inner Circle

The world learned recently that the president has been hospitalized, sick with Covid-19. The president being infected with a terrible disease he has long been downplaying is mega-news (or MAGA news, if you’re nasty). Maureen Dowd called it “biblical”. I will refrain from making any of the predictable comments about karma, chickens coming home to roost and so forth. I only offer a question or two and a short clipping from today’s paper.

There are questions about contradictory reports we’ve received about the president’s condition and when he first knew he was sick with Covid-19. What did the president know and when did he know it? Did he know he was sick (and infectious) when he attended a campaign buffet with big money donors the other day at his New Jersey golf course? He could have known, since his close confidant Hope Hicks had already been diagnosed, after showing symptoms. Was he aware that people in his inner circle were ill with the virus when Republicans met last Saturday to celebrate the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, virtually none of them wearing masks or social distancing? Kellyanne Conway and Bill Barr were filmed chatting close together, face to face, at that celebration without masks — Conway and so far seven others who were there tested positive for the virus, (Barr has said he will not quarantine). Was the president already feeling a bit sick when he debated Joe Biden, and declined to take a required Covid test, after showing up after tests were done and telling officials at the debate venue, on the honor system, that he didn’t have Covid-19?

The New York Times has not been an un-ambivalent friend to Mr. Trump. Trump for his part has called the newspaper, along with any news source or individual in any way critical of him, a liar. So take the following section of today’s update on the president’s condition, from the Grey Lady, with as many grains of salt as you like:

“I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true,” Dr. Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, said in a briefing with reporters Sunday. [1]

The doctors said that Mr. Trump had a “high fever” on Friday, and that there had been two incidents when his oxygen levels dropped — one on Friday and one on Saturday. They said Mr. Trump received oxygen at the White House on Friday; they were not clear about whether it was administered again on Saturday.

Medical experts said that despite the relatively upbeat tone of the news conference Sunday, the details of his treatment and the fact that his oxygen levels have been dropping showed that the illness has progressed beyond a mild case of Covid-19.

source

[1]

I’m sorry, the quoted paragraph of the White House doctor’s statement is irresistible to me. Granted, the man is carefully selected top doctor, not a public relations professional, but still…:

“I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,”

How can information given steer the course of a disease?

and in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something”

For example: when was the president first diagnosed? When did he begin to have symptoms? Why did the president and his doctors say he was never on oxygen when he had already had at least one session with an oxygen tank? Why is he being given this super-aggressive course of treatment, including hospitalization and untested monoclonal antibody treatment, if he only has a mild case? Why is he not taking hydroxychloroquine?

“which wasn’t necessarily true,” Dr. Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, said in a briefing with reporters Sunday.

No, none of it was necessarily true, or necessarily not true, of course, of course.

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